Fifa of­fi­cial of­fered ‘hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars’ for 2018 vote

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport / Football - By Tom Mor­gan

A for­mer Fifa ex­ec­u­tive due to be sen­tenced for cor­rup­tion has claimed he was of­fered “hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars” in re­turn for his vote for the 2018 World Cup.

Rafael Salguero, a Gu­atemalan foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tor con­victed over a wide-rang­ing United States govern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the world gov­ern­ing body, told a court in Brook­lyn about the bribe. A tran­script of his plea hear­ing, re­leased on Tues­day, re­vealed how Salguero al­leged he was ap­proached on a flight from Mex­ico to Gu­atemala by an in­di­vid­ual whose name is redacted.

Salguero, who has pleaded guilty to two counts of con­spir­acy to com­mit bank fraud and con­spir­acy to laun­der money, said he met with the un­named per­son mul­ti­ple times af­ter their first en­counter to dis­cuss the bribe. The tran­script also redacts the name of the bid Salguero was told to vote for and the name of an­other in­di­vid­ual, based in Italy, who had of­fered to pro­vide the cash.

The 2018 World Cup was even­tu­ally hosted by Rus­sia fol­low­ing a 2010 vote at Fifa’s head­quar­ters in Zurich. Rus­sia, Eng­land and joint bids from Hol­land and Bel­gium, and Por­tu­gal and Spain were con­sid­ered for the tour­na­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the newly re­leased tran­script, Salguero told the court in 2016 that, although he voted for the bid he was told to, he never re­ceived the money and did not make a trip to Italy as was sug­gested by the in­di­vid­ual of­fer­ing the bribe.

“About three or four weeks af­ter the vote I tried calling [redacted] at the cell phone num­ber he had given me, but he never picked up or re­turned the call. I tried to con­tact [redacted] be­cause I wanted to tell him that I had voted for [redacted] and I wanted to meet [redacted] in Italy to col­lect this money that [redacted] said [redacted] had for me,” Salguero said, adding that his calls were not re­turned.

More than 40 in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties were in­dicted as part of the US Jus­tice De­part­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Fifa. In the first case, which was brought to trial last year, the for­mer heads of the Paraguayan and Brazil­ian foot­ball fed­er­a­tions were found guilty on mul­ti­ple cor­rup­tion charges.

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